There are several ways to encounter whales in the wild. One way is to join a whale watching tour that goes out to local areas where whales are known to congregate. It is an amazing experience if you haven’t tried it, even if the “touristy” thing isn’t your cup of tea.
For a more intimate experience, you could even hop in a kayak and cruise some areas where whales might be known to inhabit and perhaps you’ll get lucky. Some places offer guided kayaking tours that will increase your chances of actually encountering a whale. These smaller tours will leave you feeling less claustrophobic than a whale-watching boat tour and would give you an even more up close and personal experience.
Another way is to simply pull off of one of the coastal highways for a picnic and you may get a treat that you never expected, like we did along the Oregon coast.